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Should I add an external DAC ?

So you own a nice sound system that incorporates both new digital sources and some legacy source components that you do not want to part with. A great way to increase the performance while maximizing dynamic range from all of these is to add an external DAC.

What is a DAC and What is it Used For?

A DAC, or digital to analog converter, converts digital signals into analog signals. DACs are built into CD and DVD players, and other audio devices. The DAC has one of the most important jobs for sound quality: it creates an analog signal from the digital pulses stored on a disc and its accuracy determines the sound quality of the music we hear.

What is an External DAC and What is it Used for?

An external DAC is a separate component not built into a player that has many popular uses for audiophiles, gamers and computer users. The most common use of an external DAC is to upgrade the DACs in an existing CD or DVD player. Digital technology is changing constantly and even a five-year old CD or DVD player has DACs that have probably seen improvements since that time. Adding an external DAC upgrades the player without replacing it, extending its useful life. Other uses for an external DAC include upgrading the sound of the music stored on a PC or Mac computer or to enhance the sound quality of video games.

 

What are the benefits of an external DAC?

The main benefit of a good external DAC is sound quality. The audio quality of converting a digital signal to analog is highly dependent upon bit rate, sampling frequency, digital filters and other electronic processes. A specialized DAC is designed for the best audio performance. DACs are also improved year over year and older DACs, such as those found in older CD and DVD players do not perform as well as newer models. Computer audio also benefits from an external DAC because the DACs built into computers are generally not the best quality.

 

The Bryston BDA-3  External Dac

The best external DAC that we offer is the BDA-3 from esteemed audio equipment manufactuer, Bryston.

The Bryston BDA-3 is a world class DAC (digital to analog converter) that is packed with the perfect mix of features making it an essential part of your digital audio chain. Use diverse audio sources such as Bryston's BDP digital music players, computers, music servers, and CD players to get the most accurate and superb sounding digital playback currently available. The BDA-3 is a magnificent DAC best suited for systems where high performance is desired.

The BDA-3 delivers superb sonic performance through re-sampling and re-clocking of the digital input signal. With the exception of user-selectable up-sampling, the BDA-3 doesn't convert anything to another format or re-sample at a non-native rate. The most notable difference between the BDA-2 and BDA-3, in addition to PCM playback capable of 384kHz/32 bit resolution, is that the BDA-3 is fully DSD enabled. The BDA-3 can decode up to DSD-256, through asynchronous USB inputs, and accepts SACD input via HDMI. The BDA-3 incorporates 10 separate inputs which include four 2-channel HDMI, asynchronous USB, AES/EBU, TOSLINK, and digital coax. Additionally, the network module which facilitates control via TCP/IP and RS-232 makes the BDA-3 a must for modern home automation.

Inputs: 4x HDMI, 2x USB 2.0 Type B, 2x S/PDIF (1x BNC, 1x RCA), 1x Optical (TOSLINK), 1x AES/EBU
Outputs: HDMI, RCA, XLR
Control: TCP/IP, IR, DC, RS-232

Come into our showroom and let us demonstrate the awesome performance of the Bryston BDA-3 external DAC and you will immediately want one of these as part of your sound system.

Author; Mark Sheel, Owner Electronics World